Brooke Shields on ageism and raising teenage daughters

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What does that say about good wine? Brooke Shields, 56, has long been outspoken about ageism in Hollywood. The actress, model, activist and mother of two teenage daughters recently founded Beginning is Now, a wellness company for women of all ages. Now, their recent collaboration with Clos du Bois wines is aligned with their mission to embrace aging in a healthy and celebratory way.

The campaign with a video spot directed by Courteney Cox is smart and different. “They say Chardonnay is for old people,” begins the off-voice. But instead of trying to redefine wine as a drink for the “young” people, the brand embraces its older demographic and honors them for what they are: full of vitality, adventure and beauty. “We say cheers to that.”

Romper recently zoomed in with Shields to chat about the campaign, raising teenage daughters in a world of social media and fighting ageism on all fronts.

April Daniels Hussar: Many of our readers are younger mothers or have younger children. What would you like to say to them?

Brooke Shields: Now that’s hard! That the days go by slowly, but the years go by very quickly. It’s easier to say when you’re not there, but you blink and your kids are older. It’s important to try to find a balance as much as possible, because what happens is that you throw yourself completely into it – and that’s motherhood, I think – but we forget to take care of ourselves. And then we find ourselves saying, “Now what? Oh god.” So start thinking about it how you want it this years ago what you want to do, what you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time.

I’d say, “Yes, you’re in the thick of it, but it’s not forever. So one thing, enjoy it as much as you can. And second, think of yourself. Don’t forget to get yourself involved.” We just did a Victoria’s Secret maternity campaign with my younger daughter, and they asked us to tell the other something — something you’ve seen and have learned and hope for.

And this big thing my daughter said is, ‘You spend so much time and energy with other people, your family, of course – just don’t always forget about yourself.’ And I was like, ‘She’s 16 years old and she says me, I shouldn’t lose sight of myself!”

Probably because she only thinks about herself.

ADH: [laughs] Yes.

OS: And the world revolves around them.

ADH: Absolutely. Fully.

OS: And she shares her wisdom with me. From the mouths of the babes! You say, so to speak: “Yeah, I didn’t know that [when I was a new mom].” I would find it selfish to spend time with myself, and that’s not the healthiest way to go about it.

When I see these young, young, young girls changing the whole shape and movement of their face, it’s heartbreaking.

ADH: Speaking of our teenage daughters, do you think their generation gets different messages about aging than we did back in the 80’s and 90’s?

OS: Oh it’s shocking. It is shocking. Look, I’m all for progress and dermatology, and I’ve seen cosmetic practices change all of people’s lives, but they were all older people. But I really think the messages now are this kind of homogenized view and this really unrealistic approach. And you just sit there and say, “God, just feed everything else too,” because they get it all the time.

When I see these young, young, young girls changing the whole shape and movement of their face, it’s heartbreaking. Those are the years you should be – and just grow up and experience all that. And that extra pressure from that kind of physical prototype is… As a mother of two girls, I get that, we’re talking about it. They really start having comments like, “Mom, isn’t she too young?”

It’s about talking to them all the time.

[pause]

Which they love to sit down and talk to their mother.

ADH: Ha, yes! We’re at the top of their list.

BS: “How was your day?”

ADH: I love the Jordache campaign you did recently. What do you think is the biggest barrier to seeing more women 40, 50 and over in mainstream culture, be it on TV or in advertising?

OS: I think that is gradually changing, but we need to keep spreading the message. We have to fight to be better about ourselves instead of just giving up and accepting that, and also fight to talk about how beautiful it is that we are all so different. Celebrate that! Internally, as women, we need to do the same. We cannot just give up and constantly compare ourselves to others. I think the more these messages get out there – and that’s a positive side of social media – the more industries will realize that it’s a very marketable staple and they have the money to spend.

AD: Yes.

OS: They have worked. They spend money independently of each other. Women of this age control the purses in the house. They’re the ones who buy the cars. You have money to spend. And I’m not saying things have to be expensive, but they want to spend on themselves.

Stop talking about old age like that. It’s not about “timeless”, it’s about vitality.

So I think we have to keep spreading the message, but we have to do the work. We can’t just sit and wait and complain. “We are not marketed.” We must make it known that we deserve to be marketed.

ADH: What is your ultimate goal with the Clos du Bois partnership?

BRA: Our ultimate purpose – and that’s what they were asking me about and what we believe in Beginning Is Now – is that idea, the way we talk about and see age, especially over 40, and change of really changing stereotypes. Chardonnay is not just an “age wine”; The whole campaign is Long live! There is vitality, so to speak, for there is vitality with age.

With maturity comes so much wisdom and confidence. And really, it’s just like saying, “Hey, we need to stop talking about it like that.” Stop talking about age like that. It’s not about “timeless”, it’s about vitality. They actively address those words and those stereotypes and say, “That’s just not true.”

AD: Finally!

OS: [Ageism] is only expected in my industry because it has been happening for hundreds of decades. But I didn’t expect to get it everything Marketing, at everything Advertising. I thought, “Oh god, isn’t it ironic that I’ve finally gotten to this stage?” My children, they are people who are practically on their own. I’ve survived so many things and now I’m just, I’m here! I’m ready. And now I’m being told, “No. Just skip that.”

Doesn’t work for me.

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